The following news article is a pure parody, intended to shed a bit of
humor on the hilarious situation regarding federal organic certification
USDA unveils certification requirements on food adjectives
WASHINGTON (June 3, 2002) - Just what makes a bean "green", or rice
"wild" or vanilla ice cream "french"? For the first time, the government
began answering that question by proposing rules Monday to help
consumers get the foods they think they're getting.
"The rules are going to clear up the confusion that sometimes exists in
the minds of consumers, processors and merchandisers," said one official
of the USDA. "For years now, we've heard rumors in the industry that
some vegetable processors have been selling 'green' beans, when in
reality, the product they were merchandising was olive-colored or
lime-tinted. Some unscrupulous operators were were even selling cull wax
beans with green food coloring added. The UURGF (United Uncultivated
Rice Gatherers Federation) has also been courting our department to
certify 'wild' rice as only that rice which, indeed was harvested from
wildlands. And we all know that French citizens have unintentionally
been offended by the USDA's allowance for certain ice creams to be
labeled 'French Vanilla' when the product has nothing to do with France
"These adjectives have no place in our system of food production unless
they are certified by the government," said Peter A. Rabbit, president
of the UCBFP (United Council of Bigtime Food Producers). "The public
should say no to them, too."
Yet, because there are currently no national rules, consumers could
never be certain that products with certain adjectives on the label are
actually genuine. Examples include: "sweet" corn, "snow" peas, "baking"
potatoes, and "sour" cherries.
The Secretary of Agriculture said "We are proposing certification
requirements that will guarantee the following:
1) When a consumer buys a can of "green" beans, he can be sure that the
beans will be a certain natural color of green, and the color will be
uniform year after year.
2) When a U.S. citizen purchases "wild" rice, they will be assured that
the rice was not grown by conventional methods, but that, indeed, the
rice was gathered from "wildlands" and not commercial farms.
3) When you buy a carton of "French vanilla" ice cream, you can be
certain that the beans that produced the vanilla were harvested in
France by French farmers, and that the dairy personnel who processed the
ice cream were speaking the French language as they mixed the French
Officals were uncertain how they would apply the certification
requirements to the varieties of ice cream known as "rocky road" and
"tin roof sundae."
The secretary continued "We don't know how long this certification
proposal will take, nor do we know how much additional funding will be
requested from congress, but our goal is to have the new certification
requirements in place by 2008. We've had a staff of 74 scientists and
linguists working on this proposal for three years and they have done a
wonderful job. I want to assure farmers that this is a step forward for
agriculture, and will not affect the profitability of their operations
whatsoever. The cost to have 'green' bean, 'Wild' rice and 'French
vanilla' inspectors visit their farming operation for certification will
be minimal. We all want this to be as painless as possible for our
agricultural community and we hope this will help small farmers continue
to build a niche for themselves."
For a copy of the 433-page certification proposal on food adjectives,
visit the following website: http://www.howdidwegettothispoint.com/
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